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Impact IDP Rookies (2020 Fantasy Football)

Impact IDP Rookies (2020 Fantasy Football)

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IDP leagues come in all shapes and sizes. For those of us who play in IDP leagues that treat individual defensive players as more than just a novelty, identifying the top IDP rookies can give you a major advantage on draft day. The casual IDP player may be aware of which players were drafted in the first round of that year’s NFL draft, but rookie-year IDP contributors also often come from Day Two and Day Three. We will take a look at a dozen IDP rookies set to make a sizeable impact in 2020. Let’s dig in.

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Chase Young (DE – WAS)
Chase Young should be a near every-down player for Washington as a rookie. A dominant pass rusher who also excels as a run stopper, Young will push for DE1/DL1 numbers in 2020. He has double-digit sack upside, and he has a chance to threaten the NFL rookie sack record, thanks to being part of a ferocious defensive line. Explosive with a nonstop motor, Young is often the first IDP player to be drafted from this year’s rookie class. If there’s one rookie IDP player that those in shallow leagues should target this year, it’s Chase Young

Isaiah Simmons (LB/S – ARI)
Isaiah Simmons’ rookie season upside will be directly tied to what position the Cardinals have him play. While he would be an All-Pro as a Derwin James-type of safety, it appears that Arizona likes the idea of making him an outside linebacker with a featured role in nickel and dime packages. He would have much more value as a middle linebacker, as far as IDP leagues are concerned, but he will have elevated sack upside if they indeed set him loose on the edge. Simmons proved capable of playing safety, middle linebacker, outside linebacker, and slot corner at Clemson, making him a “positionless” player with Pro Bowl upside at each. For those in redraft leagues drafting early, target him as an IDP flex option so as to avoid any disappointment when the Cardinals finally reveal exactly where he will line up on most of his snaps. He has all-world talent, but he’ll need his new team to figure out how to best utilize it. 

Kenneth Murray (LB – LAC)
The Los Angeles Chargers have been searching for a franchise middle linebacker for several seasons, and they have finally found one in Kenneth Murray. He should be able to wreak havoc in the middle of the field as a sideline-to-sideline tackler who can also rush the passer and stomp out the run. He projects as the top rookie linebacker, and he could very well push Chase Young for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors thanks to his ability to pile up tackles. He could have a Darius Leonard-like impact in his rookie season, and he should be the first rookie IDP target for those in redraft leagues that lean tackle-heavy in the scoring department. Murray should produce multiple LB1 weeks in 2020. 

Patrick Queen (LB – BAL)
While the Baltimore Ravens went through the 2019 season without a replacement for the talented C.J. Mosley, they hit the jackpot in 2020 thanks to an unusually deep draft class. Patrick Queen is a talented do-it-all middle linebacker who many had pegged as the number one true off-ball linebacker in this year’s rookie class. A strong tackler with plus coverage skills, Queen should play a near every-down role and push for LB2 numbers as a rookie. He is someone to add to your queue once the top-15 or so linebackers are off the board. 

K’Lavon Chaisson (DE/OLB – JAC)
K’Lavon Chaisson is a talented edge rusher who could be a near every-down player as a rookie. Yannick Ngakoue was franchise tagged and is still on the Jaguars roster, but he’s expected to either sit out or be traded before the season starts. Chaisson will team up with one of the 2019 NFL Draft’s top pass rushers in Josh Allen in what will be a new-look defensive front for the team formerly known as Sacksonville. Chaisson has the bend and length to be a defensive force as a rookie, but he will need to play with a constant fire to reach his potential. He is an interesting depth piece who could play his way to high-end DE2 territory as a rookie. If he qualifies as only a linebacker on your league provider, he should be seen more as an LB3. He is someone to target in sack heavy formats, or leagues that start two or more defensive ends, or three or more defensive linemen. 

Derrick Brown (DT – CAR)
A wrecking ball of a defensive tackle, Derrick Brown will be the face of the new-look Carolina Panthers defense. Brown has enough talent to take over a game defensively, and he could have very well been the number two overall pick were it not for the presence of Chase Young. The only player anyone ever mentioned in the same breath as Young talent-wise, Brown landed in a scheme conducive to his immediate success. As we saw with Quinnen Williams last season, the scheme can make or break a defensive tackle’s fantasy value, especially in their rookie season. Brown already projects as one of the top defensive tackles in the league, and he should be considered in DT1 territory. More of a DL3 in leagues that do not differentiate defensive linemen, Brown should still be a consideration at the end of those drafts. 

Antoine Winfield Jr. (S – TB)
Antoine Winfield Jr. is a talented safety that many had pegged at the top player at his position in the 2020 NFL Draft. He should have plenty of tackle opportunities due to the unproven young cornerbacks projected to start for the Buccaneers, and he could very well lead all rookies in interceptions. Teams will likely be forced to average more pass attempts per game when playing Tampa Bay, something that should work in Winfield’s favor from an IDP perspective. He has 80-plus tackle upside as a rookie with room for more. Winfield will be available as an S2/DB2 or S3/DB3 in redraft leagues, but he should provide for multiple DB1-level outings. Winfield is someone to add to your queue the second you start pulling the trigger on IDP options. 

Xavier McKinney (S – NYG)
Xavier McKinney is a talented safety that was the first true safety to hear his name called in the 2020 NFL Draft (Isaiah Simmons was drafted as a linebacker). He should be able to beat out 2019 fourth-round pick Julian Love in short order, and he’ll become an every-down player for the New York Giants. The Giants suddenly have a major potential hole in their secondary due to Deandre Baker’s involvement in an armed robbery. If Baker misses considerable time, it should lead to increased tackle opportunities for the hotshot rookie, as Sam Beal and every other corner not named Bradberry cannot hold a candle to Baker talent-wise. Even if Baker plays the whole season, McKinney should be able to rack up the counting stats. The Giants offense, or lack of it, could lead to opposing teams going run-heavy against New York, something that will allow an excellent run stopper like McKinney to be more involved in the box than otherwise. While he is a future DB1/S1, he should be able to provide S2 value as a rookie, and he’s someone to target as such in redraft leagues. 

Jeremy Chinn (S – CAR)
An FCS product many have compared to Isaiah Simmons, Jeremy Chinn projects as an immediate starter for a rebuilding Carolina Panthers defense. Much like Simmons, Chinn can line up at either safety spot, at slot corner, at linebacker, and on the edge. He is set up well for a high rookie season tackle count, as he should be a near every snap player for a defense that has major question marks in front of him at the cornerback position. Chinn could very easily rack up 80+ solo tackles for the season. He is a name to target in IDP leagues. 

Willie Gay (LB – KC)
A first-round caliber prospect who dropped due to off-field issues, Willie Gay is the linebacker the Kansas City Chiefs have been looking for. Strong in coverage with high-end athleticism, Gay could see starter-level snaps from Week 1 of his rookie season. A linebacker with 4.46 wheels and sideline to sideline ability, Gay should quickly become a tackle machine. While he may not start at middle linebacker right away, his tackle volume and coverage skills should allow him to post appreciable fantasy numbers for Kansas City in 2020. 

Grant Delpit (S – CLE)
An impact safety with first-round talent, Delpit, along with every other top safety in the class, fell to the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft. He has the coverage skills, tackling ability, and pass rush juice to become an instant star at the position, and he should quickly become one of the hottest dynasty assets at his position. While Delpit will undoubtedly spend some time in the slot and in the box, he is at his best when on patrol. He is an impact addition to a young and talented secondary that will look to Delpit to be a full-time starter as a rookie. He has 90 solo tackle upside as a rookie, but he’s a more comfortable projection for 75 with a ton of assists. Delpit is often the forgotten man of the 2020 safety group in IDP drafts, but he could very well prove to be the top fantasy asset from this class for years to come. 

Kyle Dugger (S – NE)
As an impressive small-school product from D-II program Lenoir-Rhyne, Kyle Dugger appears set to make an immediate impact for the New England Patriots. Patrick Chung’s extension may block his path to starter-level snaps at safety, but Dugger has the athleticism, physicality, and tools to rotate in not only at free safety and strong safety, but also at linebacker. It should be noted that Dugger was selected over the likes of Antoine Winfield, Grant Delpit, and Jeremy Chinn. This suggests that Bill Belichick views him as a potential starter as a rookie. Kyle Dugger should be targeted as a DB3 with high-end DB2 upside. 

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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